In Harrison County, explore western Iowa’s Loess Hills, the likes of which are unmatched anywhere else in the world, except in China. The cornerstone of the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway, these breathtaking natural formations are composed of fine, rich soil deposited by wind over millennia.
Iowa’s dozens of botanical gardens and arboretums showcase many thousands of species of flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants. Whether you want to frolic with 80 kinds of butterfly in Ames’ Reiman Gardens, get lost in 400 acres of the Iowa Arboretum in Madrid, wander a formal English garden in Dubuque, or experience something new at the sensory garden in Waterloo, you’re sure to find your green thumb in Iowa.
Iowa is crisscrossed by 1,800 miles of trails, allowing you to pedal across town or across the state on hundreds of scenic loops and inner-city treks. Join the Taco Ride, stop at a trailside brewery or see the countryside from your saddle on one of these great routes. Looking for a few must-rides? Check out the trails in Fairfield, Council Bluffs and Cedar Falls – and don’t forget your helmet.
Forget Lombard Street in San Francisco. The crookest street in the world is actually Snake Alley in Burlington. Then there’s the largest man-made grotto in the world in West Bend, the largest collection of Grant Wood paintings in Cedar Rapids, and the longest and highest double-track railroad bridge in operation, in Boone. Check out more of Iowa’s longest, tallest, largest (and smallest) claims to fame, and you’ll see that Iowa has much more than meets the eye.
Take a vacation and tuck yourself in at these outstanding hotels, suites and bed-and-breakfasts, including the last remaining hotel designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Rich in history, and home to great restaurants, spas and even a bowling alley, this list spans from the Quad Cities to Iowa City, and Mason City and beyond. These are your chance to snooze in rooms favored by former mobsters and presidents alike.
HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE
Iowa’s ultra-rich soil makes it a favorite place for an unexpected industry — wine. More than 300 vineyards serve 100 commercial wineries, including Jasper Winery in Des Moines and Soldier Creek Winery in Fort Dodge, both located in central Iowa. Here are nine of our favorite places to sample and sip. Won’t you join us?
Taking a trip to the Mighty Mississip? Iowa’s historic towns up and down our eastern border offer great options for a good night’s rest. These restored mansions (seriously – the 22-room Grand Anne in Keokuk could be yours for the weekend) and quaint B and B’s offer unique lodging experiences, award-winning food and magnificent views among the limestone bluffs of the Mississippi river valley.